KEENE, N.H. - Sydney Johnson had a double-double and notched three new career-highs as the Keene State College volleyball team sprinted out to a commanding lead and went on to post a 3-0 (25-10, 25-13, 25-23) straight set win over Norwich University in non-conference action Tuesday night at Spaulding Gymnasium.
- Keene State: 20-7
- Norwich: 13-9
How It Happened
Johnson's standout night consisted of 10 kills, 23 digs and a .435 attack percentage, pacing the Owls to a third straight win. Bailey Wilson finished with 26 assists, nine digs and three kills, while Ali McLoughlin had seven digs, six kills and four block assists. Elizabeth Johnson also had four block assists, and KSC had 18 as a team. Kathryn Farnum recorded 12 kills, 13 digs and three block assists for Norwich.
Keene State had no trouble at all in the first two sets, as they hit .345 and .342, respectively, while holding the Cadets to just 14 kills and 14 errors (.000 hitting) in the process. An 8-2 run very early on in the first frame helped the home team establish control early, and they never let go. Kills from Megan Palmer and Elizabeth Johnson, as well as a service ace from McLoughlin, helped the Owls open up a 16-6 edge, which later became 14 (20-6) as KSC finished scoring nine consecutive points. Emilyann Ashford and Wilson teamed up to block Norwich's season leader in kills, Michele Zummo, to wrap up a runaway 25-10 set win.
Olivia Mathieu's ace and another combination block from Elizabeth Johnson and McLoughlin got the Owls off and running the second frame, as they scored six of the first eight points. The visitors struggled to chip away, and KSC ballooned their advantage to 14-6 after consecutive spikes from Kelly Hunt, Ashford and Palmer. Ashford racked up two more kills just a bit later, and the Owls eventually led 20-10 before cruising to a 2-0 lead in the match following a 25-13 result in the second set.
Norwich led for the first time all evening in the third frame, but Keene State came through late to polish off the victory. The Cadets led for the majority of the early going, including 8-6 after Farnum's kill and 11-10 after Zummo's swing hit the ground. KSC's front line got busy after that, as consecutive blocks from Hunt and Hannah Hoffmaster put the home team in front, and later, a kill from Courtney Chouinard made it 16-13. Norwich did not go away, as they went on a 5-1 run to reclaim the lead (18-17), but Johnson stuffed Addison Hall and then her and Hoffmaster sent another attempt back to put the Owls right back in front by one. Leading 23-20, the visitors tallied the next three in a row to threaten a fourth set, but kills from Palmer and Hunt took care of that.
The Owls compiled 40 kills against just 10 errors in the match and outhit Norwich .244 to .036.
- Keene State has ensured a third consecutive season of at least 20 victories.
- Freshman Sydney Johnson's previous season-best in digs was 22 in a five-set win at Wentworth on September 14 and her previous high in kills was six, on .400 hitting, against Elmira College on September 7.
- KSC has won all three meetings all-time against Norwich.
- The Owls piled up 73 more digs as a team tonight, and now have 1,781 for the season, easily the most in the conference.
- Keene State ships to Boston for an important conference matchup, one of two remaining, against UMass-Boston on Saturday, October 26 at 1:00 pm. The top five teams in the conference are separated by just one game.
- Norwich gets back into GNAC play with a tri-match against Regis College and Emmanuel College, also in Boston, on the same day and time.